Circa 2000, a 20-year-old Harbhajan Singh's world came shattering down. After his father's demise, he was straddled with the responsibility of five sisters. Dejected and demoralised, he decided to give up his cricketing dream and earn a livelihood driving trucks in the US. From an unsure youth to becoming one of the finest off spinners of the country, Harbhajan's journey is one of courage, grit and determination. Be it the World Cup win or the century of his test match innings, the bowler has also been felicitated with one of the highest honors, the Padma Shri. To be like him would mean to be affirmative of your strengths and of course the passion for what you do and life itself. You may not want to become a rage amongst the youth of the country, but you could imbibe his thinking because his journey is nowhere near its closure yet. Over to him for some solid advice on life and beyond
It keeps you energetic at all times. Consider it as important as having food every day. I prefer to run on a regular basis. This is one form of physical activity that everybody can follow irrespective of their schedules. If you can't run, walk. Brisk walking takes away all the negative energy from your system.
On staying motivated
To stay on track may be tough at times, but once you start enjoying it, you will be at it. Even after a busy day at work, your body doesn't get tired, it's your brain that gets tired and sends signals of fatigue. So the trick is to take up workouts that you enjoy. The more you'll enjoy, the more benefits you'll be able to reap out of your fitness routine.
On the right fuel
Protein is very essential in your diet as it helps build muscles. Start your day with a protein shake. For lunch, eat a regular meal comprising chapati or brown rice. Carbs too are essential as they charge you up. Include a lot of green vegetables in your diet. I am a vegetarian by the day but switch to animal protein such as chicken or fish for dinner.
Most of us have grown up on chapati's and rice and we can't do without them. Interestingly, it's your brain that sends the craving signals and not your body. So comfort foods help in instant satisfaction and prevent binging. Eat what you want to but at the right time. The last meal of the
day should be three hours before bed time.
On handling failure
Failure is difficult to handle, but the important thing to remember is that nothing should destroy your peace of mind. The best way to deal with it is to find out how far you are from your goal. Assess your abilities and work on your shortcomings. The only way to bridge the gulf between failure and success is through hard work. Don't be scared to fail, that's how you will learn and weed out the mistakes. And always be grateful
to people who stand by you in tough circumstances.
On a cricketer's agility
Six-pack is good for display but you need much more than that to play a sport
You don't need to have six-packs to look physically fit. A fit body should just be flexible. There's no point having big muscles, if your body doesn't have enough flexibility, which is required as a cricketer. It's important to have a lean body. The lesser the fat, the better you function. You should have sharp reflexes. Yoga is a great form to achieve all this but unfortunately, it is not practised often.
On keeping fit on the go
When travelling and living out of a hotel room, the choices are a bit restricted, but I still try my best to pick things that fit into my routine. If you make up your mind there's always time for a 30 minute workout. We manage to find time to go out, to meet our friends. Fitness should also be looked upon as a friend, because your body will be with you when others desert you. It's important to invest in your health. Years down the line you may have enough money but you wouldn't have a place to spend it except on medical bills.
On the common mistake Indian men make in relationships
They take their partners for granted. Treat her the way you did in the initial days of knowing her. This keeps the spark alive.
On cricketers' getting too much female attention
I am not a good looking guy, so didn't really didn't get much attention from girls before I played in the national team. Whatever attention I get now is because ours is a cricket loving nation and there's this fascination for cricketers. So I don't get carried away but at the same time I am thankful to them for the love and appreciation.
If guys need to look good, they need to head to a gym, play a sport and concentrate on building a good body. A rugged and tough look is what really defines a groomed, good looking man.
On cricketers' affairs making news
It's unfair to put our relationships under a scanner. For instance, Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma's relationship has been much talked about. We are out there for a professional reason and not to glorify our personal lives. Why are we being treated differently? Aren't we like any other regular guys? Are we doing something that other guys don't do? When a sportsman is playing, his focus is on his game and that's where the public should focus. Personal lives shouldn't be discussed.
Full body agility moves: Get the reflexes of a cricketer
Expand your chest
Sit in a chair with your hands on your hips and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your chest towards the ceiling, looking straight ahead. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, feeling the stretch in your chest. Hold for 10-15 secs. Do 10 reps.
Target legs and torso
Back lunge and twist
Stand with your feet together, then step back with your right leg and bend your left knee to 90 degrees. Twist your torso to the left, extending your arms horizontally. Repeat with your left leg, twisting your trunk to the right.
Do 10 reps with each leg.
Hit core and calves
Start in a press-up position. Walk your feet towards your hands until the stretch in your legs starts to feel uncomfortable. Keeping your feet still, slowly walk your hands forward until you're back in press-up position.
Do this 5-10 times.